Six (6) Android Games You Should Play Now not Tomorrow

Got a new device? You need to get some new games. Here are some quick recommendations for great Android games. Some are familiar from other platforms. Some are free. Some are paid, and some have specific hardware requirements. All are listed here.
1.  Minecraft Pocket Edition
Why it is great: Minecraft is an entertaining block-building and survival game. You can play either in creative mode where you build and invent things in your own randomly generated world or you can play in survival mode where you use your wits and resources to survive against the creepers who come out at night.
Note – this does not connect with your main Minecraft account if you play the computer version of the game.
Play for yourself or keep it around to entertain kids. (Turn off in-app purchases if you do this.)
Minecraft is a paid app ($6.99) but you can find occasional sales, in-app purchases run from $0.50 to $1.99.   More »
2.  Lara Croft Go
Based on the popular Tomb Raider series and developed by Square Enix, Lara Craft Go is a relatively simple but very addictive puzzle game you can take with you. The puzzles are designed for short bursts of play, so pull it out in the doctor’s office waiting room or while riding the bus home.
Lara Croft Go sells for $4.99 but is occasionally on sale for $0.99. It allows in-app purchases. If you like this game, you can also check out Hitman Go, which is also from Square Enix.  More »
3.  Buttons and Scissors
This is a free puzzle game where you try to cut matching color buttons off of a square of denim. Mechanically this feels similar to Bejeweled, but not completely the same. The logic puzzles offer great challenges for players of all ages.
The other big advantage to this game is that it does not require any connectivity. You can play this game on devices that aren’t connected to Wi-Fi or in that signal dead spot.
Buttons and Scissors is a free download but allows in-app purchases.  More »
 Did you want to try out the new trend in adult coloring books, but you don’t want to carry around coloring pencil and a coloringb book? Try out this app instead. It’s appropriate for kids or adults, and while it’s not the same as coloring in an actual coloring book, it is still very satisfying.
Mandala Coloring Pages is free (with ads) but also allows in-app purchases.  More »
Yes. You can play an Android version of Portal. This is a real console game. As such, it requires a real console. This version will only work on the Nvidia Shield version of Android TV.  The Nvidia Shield starts at around $199 but allows you to stream movies and play Android games on your TV.
Portal starts at $1.99 but this is “introductory pricing.”  More »
If you have a phone with a fast processor and terrific screen display, you can take it for a ride with this virtual reality game. This is a first-person shooter where you aim at balloons. You’ll need Google Cardboard. This is an inexpensive accessory that you can either make or buy for around $15 and will turn your phone into a virtual reality device. Obviously not a game you can play while waiting in a doctor’s office (unless your doctor is awesome) but a fun novelty game to play by yourself or after having one of your friends try on the headset.
VR Cardboard Shooter 3D is a free download.  More »

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 We do not receive payment for positive reviews.

Good reasons why IT pros should sharpen their skills


It has been said that it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. But when it comes to staying professionally competitive, it behooves even the most adamant IT pros to sharpen their skills. Successful IT organisations know that their strength hinges on a well trained staff, regardless of age. Therefore, they seek to employ those whose skill sets are up to date and those who invest in skills improvement.

Old pros, new skills
Anecdotally speaking, it’s understood that as we age, we get a bit more complacent. In other words, old dogs tend to get set in their ways.

But they’re not to blame. All our lives we’ve been told that wisdom comes with age. In our youth, we looked up to our elders. Now that some of us are elders (or getting there), we relish the opportunity to share our sage learnings, beginning conversations with “Back in my day…” or “When I was your age….”

However, remaining too past- or present-focused will only hold you back in your career. Today’s most successful IT professionals, regardless of age, are actively pursuing new skills—and not just for the boost in title or salary.

Reasons to be optimistic
Given the recent economic past, it’s reassuring to learn that current IT salaries are on the rise. According to a Global Knowledge survey, respondents reported that their average salaries increased by 6.2 percent from 2011 [1]. Additionally, about two-thirds received a raise—up from only 54 percent last year. And things are looking even rosier for IT pros. A recent report finds that demand for technology professionals is expected to grow, making your skills worth even more [2].

While you may be patting yourself on the back for successfully weathering the storm, you shouldn’t retreat to your laurels. Job security is earned. Now is the perfect time to make improvements that will cement your worth and grow your skill set. Among the obvious reasons why you should learn a new trick or two is a less obvious one: professional satisfaction.

Job satisfaction and job security go hand-in-hand
There is a relationship between one’s training, their salary and their sense of professional satisfaction. What might surprise some is that this relationship is not purely a function of pay. As it turns out, humans can’t (typically) achieve happiness and professional fulfillment based on pay alone.

The Global Knowledge report showed that in late 2009 and early 2010, the IT community hit an all-time low in job satisfaction when only four percent of survey respondents claimed they felt highly engaged in their careers. Today, things are looking up; 60 percent of survey respondents report being satisfied or very satisfied. Perceived job security, not surprisingly, plays a critical role in one’s sense of job satisfaction. And this year, of those who felt secure in their positions, 70 percent felt satisfied.

One particular item in the Global Knowledge report is worth noting. Those who reported feeling secure in their positions tended to have one factor in common: They had earned a certification within the last five years.

Technology continues to evolve—do you?
Technology evolves at a breakneck pace, creating a need for on-going training. Imagine you’ve been seeing the same dentist for decades. He graduated dental school top of his class—in 1969. So much has changed since then—but have his practices? What if he had never invested in on-going education classes? Or never adapted to industry improvements? Would you trust your teeth to an old-school dentist?

These same principles apply in technology; if you don’t stay up to date on the latest industry trends, don’t expect your skills to remain in demand indefinitely. Still need persuading? Consider this: Training positively affects salaries. Those who trained in the prior year earned an average of 8.6 percent more than those who didn’t. Not a bad return on your career-improvement investment.

Why do it?
Training takes more than just time and money—it takes energy and career drive. It takes a mission. Investing in your professional success is well worth it, with research proving that building new skills equals higher pay, higher relevance and most importantly, higher job satisfaction.

Plus, the proof is in the pudding. More than half of IT managers say that following a certification, their staff was more effective on the job. Now that deserves a pat on the back.

Disclosure: This page may contain external affiliate links that may result in us receiving
 a commission if you choose to purchase said product. The opinions on this page are our own.
 We do not receive payment for positive reviews.

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